22 August-Denis Papin

Denis Papin was a physicist and mathematician who was a native of France. He invented the pressure cooker and the steam engine. During his career he worked with some of the most famous scientists of the day. These included Irish physicist Robert Boyle, Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens and the German physicist Gottfried Leibniz.

Denis Papin was born in Chitenay in central France in 1647. He graduated with a medical degree from the University at Angers in 1669. In 1679 he invented the pressure cooker which he called the steam digester. It was a vessel which had a tightly fitting lid with a safety valve to prevent explosions. The valve had a piston held in place by a weight which moved up to release steam.

Observing the piston on the pressure cooker led Papin to build a steam driven piston engine in 1690. In 1704 he built a paddle-wheel ship which was powered by his steam engine. It was the first such vehicle to be built. He moved to London in 1704 hoping to work at the Royal Society. He failed to get a position and died in poverty in 1713.

Denis Papin, inventor of the pressure cooker and the steam driven piston engine was born in France in the year 1647 On This Day.

Denis-Papin Staircase Blois Loire France